Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Rumblings: Hold on, Pens aren't done dealing
By Pierre LeBrun
Surely, the Pittsburgh Penguins are done shopping.
It was certainly assumed by many that the acquisition of winger Brenden Morrow would rule the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the Jarome Iginla bidding.
Not so, a source told ESPN.com Monday.
Even with Monday’s acquisition of blue-liner Douglas Murray, the Penguins still have the cap room to stay in the mix on Iginla, and plan to do so. Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, along with Pittsburgh, are believed to be Iginla’s four teams of choice, with the Flames captain controlling the process with a no-trade clause.
You certainly wouldn’t want to bet against the Bruins at this point on Iginla, given the urgency they feel now to match what fellow Eastern powerhouse Pittsburgh has done over the past few days.
But the point is, the Penguins want to remain active on the trade front if something makes sense, and that includes keeping tabs on the Iginla situation.
You certainly get the sense Pittsburgh views this as an all-in year, given the play of its team plus the fact the salary cap is high this year. It’s a chance to go for it.
When you consider that the Penguins will need to eventually sign Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang to extensions (both have one more season left on their deals), plus the fact the salary cap is going down next season, it makes perfect sense for the Pens to be going for it now.
Of interest, too, is how the Penguins bulked up with Morrow and Murray, two playoff warriors who can muscle up with the best of them. You don’t think the possibility of playing Boston in the second or third round came to mind in making those deals? I’d say so.
_ Jaromir Jagr’s name has been floated in trade rumors because he’s a UFA after the season. But sources told ESPN.com Monday that the Dallas Stars and Jagr’s camp (agent Petr Svoboda) have begun contract talks on an extension. There’s no guarantee they’ll agree to a deal, but at least the process has begun. I wrote last week about Derek Roy (UFA in July) possibly being dealt by the Stars and mentioned how the Anaheim Ducks -- looking for a center -- had Roy on their radar. Another team I’m told that’s held discussions with the Stars about Roy is the Ottawa Senators. Roy is an Ottawa native, so that’s a natural angle there. But on the other hand, I do not think the Senators want to pay a big price in any deal they make before April 3; they still have the long-term view in mind.
_ With Murray out in San Jose, the focus now shifts to the other notable pending UFA on the team: Ryane Clowe. There’s sizable interest in the hulking, top-six winger, although one NHL team executive told ESPN.com Monday that the price is too high right now.
_ TSN colleague Darren Dreger reported Monday night that if the Calgary Flames put Mikka Kiprusoff on the trade market, the Toronto Maple Leafs would at least inquire to see what the price tag is, but certainly would not overpay. The Leafs have said all along they’d like to add a veteran goalie to help along younger James Reimer.
_ One thing to know about the Morrow trade: The Stars didn’t ask him to waive his no-trade clause for either Boston or Pittsburgh. They only presented him with the Penguins' trade scenario. Yes, the Bruins made an offer for Morrow, but the Stars only asked Morrow to waive on the Pittsburgh deal, feeling the Penguins' offer was better, and that’s the one they wanted him to accept.
_ All these months later and Roberto Luongo is still a Vancouver Canuck. Teams have been asking about him when calling Vancouver over the last little while -- perhaps just as much out of curiosity -- but teams are also asking about Cory Schneider. It’s highly unlikely the Canucks move Schneider, even though the offers would be more substantive for him than Luongo. It’s sounding more and more like the Luongo situation will have to wait until the offseason to iron itself out.
_ As one team executive told me recently, just about anyone is available in Buffalo, but one name that’s out there a ton is defenseman Jordan Leopold. He’s a UFA after the season, so it makes sense the Sabres would dump him.
_ It’s a big week for the future of Mark Streit, who is slated for UFA status after the season. His agent, Pat Brisson, is slated to talk again with the Islanders about an extension this week. Would the Islanders move him if he doesn’t sign? They didn’t last year with P.A. Parenteau, even though he was UFA.
_ Team Canada hasn’t named its Olympic coaching staff for next February because it’s waiting for the NHL to sign off on Sochi first (a decision on the NHL and Sochi should come by mid-April). But the worst-kept secret in hockey is that Team Canada is going to bring back Mike Babcock and his staff (Ken Hitchocck and Lindy Ruff) for Sochi. Thing is, retired coach Jacques Lemaire needs to be replaced and I’m hearing that Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien is a very good bet for that spot. And if that’s the case, it’s a brilliant decision. Julien has been long overdue for this kind of honor.